There's a four-way tie for seventh place in the powerful Big East. Those teams are desperately trying to avoid playing on the first day of next week's conference tournament.
West Virginia and No. 16 Connecticut are in that group, and they'll meet Wednesday night in Morgantown.The Mountaineers (18-10, 9-7), Huskies (21-7, 9-7), Marquette and Cincinnati are all tied for seventh. The top eight teams avoid playing Tuesday when the Big East tournament begins at Madison Square Garden.Wednesday's action will be pivotal since the Golden Eagles host the Bearcats in a game that begins an hour after this one starts."It's hard to tell what's gonna happen," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "We're tied with Connecticut, we play Connecticut. The winner of that's going to be a game up on the other one."Marquette plays Cincinnati. I think it's a four-way tie."Huggins' team gets its first look at Kemba Walker, who is second in the Big East with 22.8 points per game. The coach, however, employs a zone defense that has limited opponents to 28.1 percent shooting from 3-point range for one of the best marks in the nation.The Huskies have seen a steady diet of zone to contain Walker and are shooting 32.6 percent on 3-pointers in Big East play for the fifth-worst mark in the conference.UConn, though, turned in its best 3-point shooting effort in a Big East game by making 10 of 19 attempts in Sunday's 67-59 win at Cincinnati. Freshmen Jeremy Lamb and Roscoe Smith each made three 3s and combined for 28 points."I thought that we really got great combinations from tonight," coach Jim Calhoun said. "The key tonight was just to come out and play some basketball, advance our seeding, and get towards the NCAA tournament."Calhoun was back on the sideline after missing Thursday's 74-67 overtime loss to Marquette because he was with his family after the death of his sister-in-law. Sunday's win capped a tumultuous week in which Calhoun admitted mistakes that led to recruiting violations that have resulted in numerous sanctions."I've had some very good teams over the last few years," Calhoun said Sunday. "This is one of my favorite teams of all-time."The hot shooting against the Bearcats came on the heels of UConn's worst Big East 3-point shooting performance -- 5 of 22 against Marquette. West Virginia is unsure what to expect."You watch the Marquette game, they had shots, they just didn't make them," Huggins said. "You watch the Cincinnati game, they made them. Roscoe Smith goes 1 for 8 against Marquette and he's what, 3 for 4 from 3 against Cincinnati. I don't know how you explain that, same shots."West Virginia, 10-2 at home, is enduring its own shooting woes at 37.6 percent overall while splitting its last four games. Darryl Bryant's 15 points helped the Mountaineers overcome 39.6 percent shooting in Sunday's 65-54 victory at Rutgers.The Huskies have won nine of the last 11 meetings, including four of five on the road.